Restaurant Review: 지실리애 (Hand-Made Tea)

 

This former BBQ restaurant (숫불갈비), no more than a five minute walk from the house, was the kind of place that made you NOT want to visit.  I had walked/driven/cycled by it a million times over the last couple of years and could never really tell if it was a functioning restaurant and open for business or…something else.  It had that run down “given-up” look to it.

Thankfully the owners of the cute little fortune-teller cafe down the street were looking to expand their fortune-telling handmade tea empire.  They stepped in and breathed new life into the space.  It’s amazing what a little landscaping, a few outdoor lights and new signage can do for a place like this.  It’s now extremely inviting and exactly the kind of place you’d want to visit for a rest during a busy afternoon of exploring the area.

Better picture coming soon!


 

Lots of local goods for sale

Not many surprises on the menu (apologies for the ridiculous menu photo!), but it will certainly meet your needs if you’re just looking to escape the sun and sit down for an hour to relax after chasing your kids around the Eco-Park all afternoon.  The tea is the star of the show and what they will recommend if you ask.  They’re quick to mention it’s handmade, likely due to the fact that it’s not cheap (6-8,000won).  I got the 대추차 (date tea), which is basically the tea form of 약밥…it was intense!  Plenty of other more mild teas available, as well as a few coffee options, beer and of course dongdong-ju.  Food is limited to snacks mostly, but they do offer 수재비, which is a popular option around the countryside and probably pretty tasty at this place.

 

 

The space inside is bigger than it looks from the outside.  They even have large private sitting areas in the back.  The entire atmosphere makes for a great place to relax.

So, as mentioned, this is not just a tea cafe, but a fortune telling tea cafe.  If you’re new to Korea, or the Korean countryside, fortune telling is big business here.  It’s prevalent throughout the countryside and even more so along popular “date course” routes.  The idea being, while on your date, you would stop by the cafe and see what the fortune teller has to say about your future together as a couple.  Sounds pretty awkward, huh?  You can also get an individual reading done about different aspects of your life.  You will need to speak Korean and know the date AND time of your birth.  I tried to do it during this visit, but the fortune teller was busy…with over an hour wait…on a rainy Wednesday night.  I wasn’t joking about it being big business.  15,000won/person.

Nice new addition to the neighborhood and the perfect place for a pit stop during your busy day of sight-seeing.  It’s got all the countryside charm you’re looking for.  Stop by for some tea and have a complete stranger tell you what the future has in store for you.  I know I will!

Looking for a more western style cafe with pizza and pasta?  Check out Soho across the street.